The world has been changed by Gandhi – celebrating 150 years since his birth

History recognizes Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) as India’s “Father of the Nation”.

But he has been the “Father of Change” throughout the world.


Peaceful freedom campaigners such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Tibet’s Dalai Lama owe much to this great man.


I am pictured visiting the Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat

In my own generation it was our opposition to the Vietnam War that led us to study Gandhi and his methods of non-violent protest. In this way he inspired young people in the 1960’s in Australia, USA, Canada and more.

I especially love his message encouraging tolerance: “As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it”. He said: “The golden rule is to test everything in the light of reason and experience, no matter from where it comes.”


Some more Gandhi messages for specific sectors:

Communities: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”.

Leadership: “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

Careers: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Business: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises; he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

Innovation: “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”

Education: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

In our ever-busy lives, Gandhi is a role model in taking time out for the simple things. I saw this in bustling Mumbai at Mani Bhavan (Gandhi House), a three storey home with shuttered windows, a residence that Mahatma Gandhi was able to use. His room is simply furnished, austere. He would sit and read, spin cotton or talk to friends. It was his quiet time.

This was indeed the man who said there was enough in the world for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.

No surprise then that Gandhi’s core approach to life was “You must be the change you want to see in the world”, a message very alive today as we seek to enhance our tolerant, multicultural communities.


Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

3 thoughts on “The world has been changed by Gandhi – celebrating 150 years since his birth”

  1. Mahatma Gandhi’s economics is as important as his politics. One of his powerful insights was captured in his observation ” What the world needs is not mass production, but production by the masses”.In the current economic debate, what this means is that it is not the measure of a country’s GDP that should be seen as a sign of it’s progress, but the number of jobs the country creates .In the context of today’s technology led growth, creating and preserving jobs must be recognized as the most important criteria for economic success. The world today faces the prospect of jobless growth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Its nice to read positive thoughts on Mahatma. He is the most misunderstood person, especially in his own country. But the as he only sais, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: